Author: Harley Whitworth Barrett

Student Entrepreneurship and Mental Health

If you’re a student entrepreneur in Australia, you’re part of an exciting and challenging journey. But let’s not beat around the bush: while entrepreneurship can be rewarding, it can also take a toll on your mental health.

A recent survey on the mental health of Australian university students revealed a concerning statistic: 65% of Aussie uni students aged 16-25 reported high or very high psychological distress, with 35.4% having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

“Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey while juggling your studies is no small feat. While managing business plans and coursework, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your mental health,” advised mental health advocate and musician Flynn Ross of Guitar Tuners.

It’s high time we shed light on this and explore what can be done. Buckle up as we explore the wild ride of entrepreneurship and dish out some nifty tricks to stay sane in the game.

The Impact of Entrepreneurship on Mental Health

1.    Stress and Burnout

Running a startup is no walkabout. The pressure to succeed, coupled with academic responsibilities, can lead to chronic stress and burnout. It’s essential to recognise the signs early – feeling constantly overwhelmed, irritability, and a dip in academic performance are red flags.

2.    Financial Strain

Let’s face it: starting a business can be a financial rollercoaster. This uncertainty can be a significant source of stress, especially for students already dealing with tuition fees and living expenses.

3.    The Isolation Equation

Running your own business can be lonely. Unlike your mates who might be enjoying uni life, you’re often holed up working on your venture. This isolation can negatively impact your mental health, leading to feelings of loneliness and depression.

4.    Failure and Resilience

In entrepreneurship, failure isn’t just possible; it’s likely. Handling setbacks while maintaining your coursework can take a toll on your mental well-being.

Support Systems for Student Entrepreneurs

So, what can be done to support the mental health of our student entrepreneurs? Here’s a squiz at some steps we can take:

1.    University Resources

Many Aussie universities offer counselling services and workshops on stress management and mental health. Don’t hesitate to reach out – these resources are there for you.

2.    Peer Networks

Joining entrepreneur clubs or groups on campus can connect you with peers who understand what you’re going through. These networks provide a sense of community and shared experience.

3.    Mentorship

Having a mentor who’s been down this path can be a game-changer. They can offer guidance, support, and a listening ear when the going gets tough.

Mental Wellness Strategies for the Student Entrepreneur

Here are some practical ways to maintain mental equilibrium as you build your empire.

1.    Acknowledge the Pressure Cooker Environment

First, recognise that a student entrepreneur’s life isn’t a walk in the park. Juggling studies with a startup can feel like batting a century and a half! With 35.4% of students having suicidal thoughts, it’s evident that this isn’t something to take lightly. Create a routine that includes regular check-ins with yourself about how you’re feeling. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed – acknowledging it is the first step to managing it.

2.    Mind Your Health – Both Physical and Mental

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. The Brain & Mind Centre at the University of Sydney emphasises the link between exercise and reduced anxiety. Regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep should be non-negotiables in your daily routine  And don’t be shy about seeking professional help if things are getting too heavy.

3.    Time Management is Key

Good time management is like having a good surfboard – it helps you ride the waves smoothly. Use tools like digital planners or apps to schedule your day, ensuring you allocate time for breaks and leisure activities. This not only boosts productivity but also helps in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

4.    Embrace Failure as Part of the Journey

Stuffed up? No worries. Failure is not the end; it’s a stepping stone to success. Reframe failures as learning opportunities. Every misstep is a chance to grow and improve your strategy. This positive mindset can significantly reduce discouragement and help maintain mental resilience.

5.    Find Time to Unplug and Recharge

All work and no play? That’s a recipe for a meltdown. Take time to unplug from your business and recharge your batteries. Hit the beach, catch a footy game, or chill with your mates.

6.    Staying Focused on Your ‘Why’

When you’re up to your neck in crocodiles, it’s easy to forget you came to drain the swamp. Keeping your ultimate goal in sight can be incredibly motivating, especially during tough times. Remind yourself why you started this journey. This vision can be a powerful tool in overcoming obstacles.

7.    Celebrate Your Wins, No Matter How Small

Have you got a new client? Finished a tough assignment? Crack open a cold one and celebrate! Acknowledging your achievements is crucial for mental wellbeing. A simple self-reward system can work wonders to boost your morale and motivate you.

8.    Remember, You’re Not Alone

Lastly, remember that you’re not the only one riding this rollercoaster. There’s a whole community of student entrepreneurs out there. Reach out, share experiences, and support each other.

Stay Balanced, Stay Brilliant – With The Startup Apprentice, Your Journey to Success is Mentally Sound!

Navigating the complex world of student entrepreneurship is about more than just business savvy—it’s about maintaining a healthy balance between your ambitions and your mental well-being.

Startup Apprentice is here to guide you every step of the way. From providing valuable resources to connecting you with a supportive community, we are dedicated to ensuring that your entrepreneurial journey is as mentally rewarding as it is professionally successful.

If you’re ready to take your student entrepreneurial venture to the next level while keeping your mental health front and centre, reach out to Startup Apprentice.

Let’s work together to turn your business dreams into reality with a solid foundation of mental resilience and community support.